The Effect of Natural Language on the Learning of the Principles of Boolean Logic

Ms Christine Prasad
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The current age of globalisation, the advent of digital technologies, and the heavy reliance on the Internet for information, is forcing information to be transmitted in a manner that transcends geographic, cultural and linguistic borders. Education is no exception as seen by advances in e-learning. However, a major problem with global education is the language in which knowledge is transmitted and received. Many tertiary institutions, particularly in Western countries, support English as the language of instruction. The difficulties faced by non-English language speakers studying in Western countries have been readily published. Most of these difficulties are at comprehension level and many strategies have been devised to counteract them. However, does the natural language of learners affect their understanding, as opposed to comprehension, of certain concepts when taught in the English language? The research presented in this paper attempts to answer this question by looking at the teaching of Computer Programming at an introductory level at a tertiary institution. This research takes place in a country where the student population is strongly flavoured with International students and overseas migrants, and the language of instruction is English. It focuses on a subset of Computer Programming, specifically Boolean Logic, and tries to identify whether there is a relationship between students' natural language and their learning of this concept. This paper describes work in progress on this multi-disciplinary research that draws input from Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Education and Computer Science. It presents a rationale for the study, the methodology used, an analysis of data gathered to date and an insight into on-going research on this topic.

Keywords: Boolean Logic, Computer Programming, Computer Science Education, L1 Students, L2 Students, Natural Language
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Effect of Natural Language on the Learning of the Principles of Boolean Logic, The

Ms Christine Prasad

Lecturer/ Professor, School of Computing and Information Technology, Unitec New Zealand
New Zealand

Ref: T05P0108